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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1984 Aug;130(2):320-1.

Effect of posture on upper and lower rib cage motion and tidal volume during diaphragm pacing.


We monitored changes in upper and lower rib cage dimensions and tidal volume during bilateral phrenic nerve pacing in a quadraplegic subject with a flaccid chest wall paralysis. Both upper and lower rib cage showed inward (paradoxical) motion during paced breaths in supine (horizontal) and upright positions on a tilt table. In both postures, abdominal compression changed only the lower rib cage to orthodox motion. Abdominal compression in the supine posture decreased tidal volume 10 to 20%, while end-inspiratory diaphragm length, assessed from end-expiratory volume, did not change. Abdominal compression in the upright posture caused end-expiratory volume to fall and increased tidal volume 200%. These observations suggest that isolated diaphragm contraction can move the lower ribs independently from the upper ribs and that tidal volume is determined both by the resting length of the diaphragm and by diaphragmatic load.

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